Loving answers: How to handle repeated questions in trust and estate litigation by an Alzheimer's affected elderly parent?

How often does your parent ask you the same question?  If you are handling a conservatorship, trust or estate, or are involved in trust litigation, or a contested conservatorship in litigation in court, you must feel frustrated with the repeated questions.   

​It is important that people with Alzheimer's or dementia remember feelings and not facts. We read an interesting article in DailyCare.com which give you a number of ways to handle repeated questions:

"4 ways to respond when someone with Alzheimer’s repeats questions

1. Respond to the emotions, not the words
When your older adult starts to repeat a question over and over, try to guess what feelings might be causing the behavior. If they might be feeling anxious, giving a brief hug or hand squeeze while calmly answering the question may soothe them enough to stop their need to keep asking.

2. Keep your answers brief
It’s tempting to answer a question from a person with Alzheimer’s the same way you’d answer anybody else. But the shorter and simpler your answer, the better. It saves you time and energy and reduces your exasperation when you have to repeat it five more times.

3. Distract with an activity
Sometimes the only way to get your senior with dementia to stop repeating a question is to distract them with something they enjoy. Maybe that means offering a snack or favorite beverage.

Or, you could ask them a simple question to get them thinking about something else, like “The sky is blue today, isn’t it nice?” Another idea is to ask them to help you with a simple chore they’re still able to do, like folding laundry.

4. Escape for a few minutes
It’s tough to keep your cool and not snap at someone when you’ve been asked the same question for the twelfth time. Everyone’s patience runs out at some point, especially if this isn’t the first time it’s happened today."

One way to help an elder remember, is to create a folder with copies of the elder's information.   This folder may include a bank statement, with the bank account number redacted, a list of doctors, list of family members' phone numbers, medications, and caregiver information.   Remind the elder that the folder is located on the dining room table, where he or she can get to it fast.   Lists help elderly organize their thoughts.

Mina Sirkin, an elder law litigation attorney who handles trust and estate litigation, as well as conservatorship litigation and contested matters, can be contacted at 818.340.4479 or by email at MSirkin@SirkinLaw.com​.   We help clients in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Van Nuys, Burbank, Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Glendale, and Pasadena areas.  



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